attleboro’s manchester reservoir

The Manchester Reservoir in Attleboro.

ATTLEBORO — With a drought warning in place and one of the city’s water sources running low, Mayor Paul Heroux is restricting water use starting Friday at 8 a.m.

The use of underground and above-ground sprinklers will be prohibited from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the mayor is urging residents to reduce lawn watering by 50 percent.

“With this measure in place, I think that we will be OK going forward,” he said in a news release. “Unlike the summer of 2018, which was especially wet, this has been a relatively dry summer. We ask that people reduce their discretionary water use.”

People can continue to hand-water gardens with a hose or watering can, wash cars and fill permanent pools, he said.

If well water is being used to sprinkle a lawn, a sign must be posted that is visible from the street.

Heroux took the action on the advice of the city Water Superintendent Kourtney Wunschel.

The restriction comes about 10 days after a Level 2, or “significant,” drought was declared for the entire state by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides.

Massachusetts has endured four months of below normal rainfall.

Wunschel said water levels in the Seven Mile River, from which the city draws most of its supply, are about normal for this time of year, but the levels in Wading River, the city’s secondary source are below normal.

Currently, the city is pumping water from Wading River at about half its normal capacity, and the goal is to ensure the Seven Mile system does not become stressed, she said.

The Seven Mile River feeds into Manchester Reservoir.

Wunschel also said the city is reluctant to use water from Lake Mirimichi in Plainville, its third source of water, because of an algae bloom.

In the first eight months of last year, Attleboro recorded 37.06 inches of rain.

This year that number is down to 27.39 inches, Wunschel said.

And last year there was almost twice as much rain in August as this year.

The 2019 total was 3.87 inches. This year the number was 2.05 inches.

A first time violation of the restriction will incur a $25 fine.

The fine goes to $50 for a second violation and $200 for a third and any violation thereafter.

George W. Rhodes can be reached at 508-236-0432.

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